- The most effective hangover remedies include eating carbohydrates, salty foods, eggs, or bananas.
- To cure a hangover, you should hydrate with water and sports drinks to replace lost electrolytes.
- Supplements like red ginseng, prickly pear, and Korean pear may also help relieve a hangover.
- Visit Insider’s Health Reference library for more advice.
For as long as there has been alcohol, there have been people searching for a cure to the next day fatigue, nausea, and headaches that can come with a hangover.
Most hangovers will go away on their own within 24 hours. There is no single cure for a hangover, but treating the symptoms can help you feel better. You can use the following home remedies to help relieve your hangover symptoms:
1. Eat eggs
Eggs contain amino acids like cysteine, which can help clear acetaldehyde from your system, according to a 2018 article in the Journal of Chemistry.
Acetaldehyde is produced during the metabolism of alcohol. When you drink a lot, your body can’t metabolize acetaldehyde quickly enough. Too much acetaldehyde in the blood has been linked to hangover symptoms like headache, sweating, nausea, and vomiting.
2. Have a banana
Bananas are a good source of potassium, an important electrolyte that can get depleted after drinking. Low electrolyte levels can contribute to hangover symptoms like fatigue, headache, nausea, muscle cramps, and low energy.
One banana contains 425 milligrams of potassium, or about 12% of your recommended daily value. Other foods rich in potassium include:
- Avocados (708 mg/cup)
- Spinach (420 mg/cup of cooked spinach)
- Baked potatoes (925 mg per potato)
- Salmon (309 mg/3 oz)
3. Snack on salty foods
Eating salty foods can help replenish your body’s sodium levels, which may also be depleted after heavy drinking. Some of the best examples include:
- Pickles (362 mg sodium/spear)
- Olives (310 mg/4 green manzanilla olives)
- Chicken noodle soup (343 mg/cup)
4. Load up on carbs
Carbohydrates help raise your blood sugar, which will help relieve the symptoms of low blood sugar commonly associated with hangovers like fatigue and weakness.
- Brown rice
5. Drink lots of water
While dehydration isn’t the only cause of a hangover, it is a major one. Drinking water or other fluids when you are hungover will help alleviate the symptoms of dehydration, such as dry mouth, dizziness, and fatigue.
There isn’t a defined amount you need to drink, says Mia Mattioli, MD, a physician at Huntington Hospital in California. Drinking water alongside your alcoholic drinks can also help, because it will both keep you hydrated and likely reduce how much alcohol you consume, Mattioli says.
6. Hydrate with electrolytes
Drinks with electrolytes will help you retain water. Salty liquids like bouillon soup or sports drinks will also help replace the salt and potassium you lose from urinating frequently while drinking.
7. Have some coffee
Coffee or tea can also help you feel better, especially if your hangover has you feeling fatigue and head pain.
The caffeine can help relieve headaches and give you an energy boost, but be wary, because caffeinated drinks are also diuretics, and can end up dehydrating you more.
8. Try supplements
Some supplements and extracts may also help treat hangovers, although Mattioli warns that what works for one person may not work for another.
Mattioli says that in general, there isn’t harm in trying different supplements, as long as you never exceed the recommended daily limit of each supplement.
Here are the best supplements to cure your hangover:
- Prickly pear. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in 2004 in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine, 55 healthy adults were given either a placebo or prickly pear extract five hours before drinking up to 1.75 g of alcohol per kilogram of body weight. The prickly pear extract was found to reduce symptoms of nausea, dry mouth, and lack of appetite in comparison to the placebo.
- Red ginseng. A 2014 study published in the journal Food & Function suggests that red ginseng may alleviate hangover symptoms. Researchers had 25 healthy adult men drink 100 mL of whiskey followed by either 100 mL of water or a drink with .321 mg mL of red ginseng. Participants reported less severe hangover symptoms with the red ginseng drink.
- Korean pear. A 2016 review of natural remedies for hangovers suggests Pyrus pyrifolia, or Korean pear, can help treat hangover symptoms and reduce the amount of alcohol in your blood. It is important to note that the study cited by the review is small, with just 14 participants.
9. Stay away from hair of the dog
Sometimes known as “hair of the dog,” many people claim that having one drink the next morning can help relieve your hangover.
Yet this is not recommended by doctors and several studies show that drinking to cure a hangover is associated with problem drinking and alcohol dependence.
10. Avoid certain drinks
Some drinks may cause worse hangovers than others. There is some evidence that alcohol with more congeners, the substance that flavors and colors drinks, leads to more severe hangover symptoms. Bourbon and whiskey, for example, are high in congeners, while vodka has essentially none.
A 2010 study published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research looked at the correlation between high and low congener drinks and severity of hangovers. For the study, researchers examined 95 healthy adults between the ages of 21 and 33 who were not alcohol dependent, as determined by the Short Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test, but who were considered heavy drinkers, meaning they had consumed at least 4 to 5 drinks in a single night in the last 30 days.
Participants were given either whiskey or vodka mixed with cola one night and a placebo of cola and decarbonated tonic with a few drops of whiskey or vodka on top the other night. Participants rated eight hangover symptoms on a scale of 0 to 7 to determine the severity of hangovers. Researchers found that hangovers were worse after a night of drinking bourbon compared to a night of drinking vodka.
While many people claim to have tried-and-true hangover cures, there is no one trick that will work for everyone.
Overall, the best way to recover from a hangover is to treat the symptoms, which differ from person to person. And of course, drinking in moderation, staying hydrated, and not drinking on an empty stomach will all help reduce the severity of a hangover.